This week’s guest post comes from Raj, travel blogger behind The Two Roads. He explains ‘As a youngster I didn’t really get the opportunity to travel as much as I’d hope to. During my late teens that had all changed, a few trips over my time at University made me yearn to explore the world. Post University I embarked on a 7-month trip through the Sub-Continent, Australia, New Zealand, several Pacific Islands and the USA (It had nothing to do with delaying the 3 years of accounting exams that followed University!). Over the years I’ve been travelling in all forms including; backpacking, flash-packing, package holidays, luxury travel and corporate travel. I’d like to share some of these past experiences and hope that you’ll join me on my future travels.’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
I’m Raj Popat, and I’ve been born and raised in London UK.
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
I aspire to be a full-time traveller, but at the moment I’d say more of a part-time/business/backpacker traveller. My trips all vary, I’m just as comfortable in a hostel meeting new people as I would be relaxing in a lovely 5* beach resort! I have a minimum quota on trips every year of 6; made up of two 2 week plus trips, and several smaller trips around Europe.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
By occupation I’m an Accountant, currently working with start-ups in London. I need to be an Excel geek 45 weeks of the year to be able to fund my travel habit.
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
Ouch, I was expecting this one, it’s the most difficult question you could ask someone with a travel bug, and I’d have to say it’s a close tie between two of my favourite countries during my backpacking trip; New Zealand and Fiji. Fiji edges it by a whisker, for one reason only, both my travel buddy and I at the time had such an intense 2007/8 with finishing University straight into the backpacking trip – it was the first time we took a step back. Our life during that time exploring Fiji’s Yaswas islands was simple, back to basics almost with no running water, electricity, days were spent watching sunsets, sunrises and just simply relaxing.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
This for me is easy; Delhi it’s somewhere I’ve spent very little time and despite it being such a city with stunning architecture it’s somewhere I felt so unsafe and vulnerable for the only time on my travels throughout the world.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
I do have a bucket list and it would consist of:
- Peru – see the ruins of Machu Picchu, Chan Chan and the Nazca Lines. Alongside this the country is a great place for adventure sports, beaches and food!
- Norway/Iceland – I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights in all of its glory, so do need to get planning with a trip to either Iceland or Norway. I’ll admit Iceland was a frontrunner for me up until a friend of mine visited Norway last year and the country became a lot more attractive after a Skype conversation with an ex-colleague who resides in Norway who has offered to take me hunting!
- South Africa – It’s somewhere I’d love to go back to for a full blown trip, I’ve been for business/sports related trips but the country deserves a trip specifically aimed at getting to know it rather than one to watch a sports tournament or sign a business deal! Food and Wine of course come into play here too!
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
The first thing that gets packed in any trip for me would be Tim – Tim is a cuddly toy that was acquired at Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo in 2008 and I’ve taken “Tiger” Tim with me everywhere since.
For choice number two, I’d have to say my phone, 10 years ago this would have been my camera without a doubt but with the technological advances there have been in mobile phones since my backpacking trip it’d be my phone hands down. I’m able to write emails, organise my diary, take high resolution pictures (and share on Social Media of-course), as well as just go back to basics and use the phone to make calls/texts.
My third and final choice is something more within oneself rather than a physical product. The final thing I never leave home without is travelling with an open mind – one should be receptive and take in new cultures. Embrace new things that cross your path on your travels, try that garlic friend tarantula leg, spend some time learning about the local religion, talk to local people and just relax!
8. What makes you happy and why?
What makes me happy is the fact that I’m someone that is lucky enough to be able to travel regularly, coming up to my next trip my friends/family can confirm I get so excited about them. I could happily talk travel all day if I was given the opportunity to. The fact that I have the ability to jump on a plane/train or drive to a new location and experience various local customs, cultures, foods and people is a great way to spend life.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I’ve only been blogging since June 2016, it’s fairly new but it’s given me a new lease of life. I got to a stage where life became all about work, coming home and continuing to work on side projects I now come home and work on the blog, read new blogs, plan new travels and talk with some great people about food all evening! The direction of the blog for the foreseeable future will be travel based, but I will have the occasional personal or food related post. I think I’ll take each day as it comes.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
My blog isn’t aimed at any particular readers, it’s just me and my trips/experiences I’ll say things as they are and if I have an experience be it good or bad I’ll let you know about them. As I am someone who travels in every form I hope there is something in my blog for everyone. I’ll be offering travel tips, discussing backpacking/flash-packing trips, business trips, adventure travel, luxury travel and anything and everything else you could put under the term “travel”. I’ll also be providing food/photography maps, trying local restaurants/street food.
From ESLT – thank you Raj for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂